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 Gulf states can respond to any Iran attack: Bahrain

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The Sameer
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PostSubject: Gulf states can respond to any Iran attack: Bahrain   Mon Mar 19, 2007 4:26 am

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070318/wl_mideast_afp/irannuclearpolitics

DUBAI (AFP) - Arab states in the Gulf have the capability to respond to any attack from neighbouring Iran, Bahrain's defence minister said in an interview published on Sunday.

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"Gulf countries are able to defend themselves against Iran... we have the military strength and capability," Khalifa bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa told the pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper.

He added that any conflict between Western powers and Iran over its controversial nuclear programme would impact other states in the region, including Bahrain.

Washington fears Iran is secretly developing an atomic weapon, a charge Iran strongly denies insisting its nuclear programme is for peaceful energy production only.

The island state of Bahrain is a key ally of the United States and is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet. Washington also has troops stationed in Kuwait.

The minister said Bahrain, as well as other Arab states, would "respond with force to defend itself" if Iran blocked the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the event of a confrontation over its nuclear drive.

The strait at the southeastern tip of the Gulf separates Oman from Iran.

Almost all crude exports from oil-rich Gulf states go through the strait, making it the world's most important oil passage.

Iran is a key OPEC member and the world's fourth-biggest oil producer.
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